B Corporation is making a difference in the world by encouraging organizations to take corporate social responsibility through B Corp. certification one business at a time. B Corp certifications are issued to for-profit companies by the United States based non-profit organization, B Lab. This certification is a result of vigorous assessments and legal requirements, which require businesses to meet certain environmental performance standards and social responsibility standards in order to become certified. B Corp certification also requires that businesses integrate company governing documents with stakeholder commitments for certification eligibility.
A Little History
B Corps first began work at B Lab on July 5, 2006 with a big dream to hold corporations accountable regarding corporate social responsibility and to make the world a better more sustainable place. On October 5, 2007, the phrase “impact investing” was originally born during the first Rockefeller Foundation gathering in Bellagio, Italy.
Just two months later, the very first company to become B Corp certified and baring its logo on its products was the popular King Arthur Flour. Three years later, on April 23, 2010, Maryland becomes the first state to officially sign Benefit Corporation Legislation into law.
Today, there are now 11 B Corp. Legalized States, with more than 910 businesses that are B Corp certified in 60 industries from 29 countries around the world, and over 17 million green-conscientious consumers have been reached. All of these businesses share the common goal of making the world a better place by redefining what success means to business.
The Many Ways to ‘B the Change’
Here are some of the many ways that you can join in on the global movement to ‘B the Change’ and redefine success in your business:
- Getting Social and Spreading the Word: Show your support for this global movement by getting social and spreading awareness via social networks.
- Through Legislation and Change-making: Join in with other change-makers who are getting involved with the passing of legislation by signing a letter of support to your state’s elected officials and leaders. Legislation has been successfully passed in 11 states thanks to many change-makers who are ready to bring change.
- Through Creativity and Example: Bring change by creatively inspiring others to also join in on the movement or to show support. You can do this by integrating B Corp.’s way of thinking into your business.
- Supporting Other Businesses: Supporting other B Corp. businesses as a customer will not only help other businesses grow but at the same time, you’ll be leading by example. Other businesses are likely to follow the lead in the B Corp.’s ‘B the Change’ initiative thanks to your supportive role.
- Recruiting Other Businesses: Encourage other businesses to join in on the movement by sharing your experience and leading the way.
B Corporation Certification Advantages
When your business becomes B Corp. certified, this protects you company’s leaders from shareholders who have short-term and profit-driven goals in mind. Businesses are frequently eligible for loan forgiveness through academic contributions. Corporations that are B certified find that they have a wide-range of access to multiple discounts from outside sources. But most importantly, become B Corp. certified allows a business to stay true to becoming a corporate socially responsible business for people and the environment.
B Certified Success Stories
Cascade Engineering: Fred Keller, the founder and CEO of Cascade Engineering, a thriving plastic manufacturer for nearly four decades, can truly attest to B certification success. Cascade Engineering first launched in 1973 with just six employees and is now a multimillion dollar thriving manufacturing business employing a thousand people. From day one, Fred Keller has lived by sustainability rules; rules that he must abide by which have been required of legal entities such as DOL, OSHA and the EPA. But from day one, Fred Keller has also followed his own ethical rules regarding corporate social responsibility and has joined voluntary certification movements such as ISO and B Corp. certification.
Etsy: The popular Etsy proudly joined the B Corp. ‘B the Change’ movement in 2012 with the belief that its business’s social purpose far exceeds its profit purpose. Some ways that Etsy has joined this movement thus far include the development of conscientious practices such as offering employees bicycles to ride to work, donating office compost for recycling becoming more energy efficient and more.
Ben & Jerry’s: The popular and well-established Ben & Jerry’s added more credibility to the B Corp. ‘B the Change’ movement when it became B certified in 2012. From the day that Ben & Jerry’s first launched back in 1978, the company’s founders, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, have remained committed to playing a socially responsible role in the world. Some of the ways that Ben & Jerry’s has joined in the ‘B the Change’ movement include the pursuit of linked prosperity by actively participating in the Fair Trade movement, working with local dairy farmers, and seeking new energy efficiency.
How to join in and ‘B the Change’
There are three simple steps involved with becoming B Certified. You must first meet B Corp.’s performance requirements by completing the B Impact Assessment. Upon completing this assessment, your company must score between 80 and 200 points. The second step involves meeting legal requirements. The third and final step involves making your B Corp certification official by signing the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence and Term Sheet. Are you ready to ‘B the Change?